Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thriller Thursday - Grandpa's Car Accident

The following story is taken directly from my Aunt Rita's memoir's. Aunt Rita was born in 1896. She was the eldest of my Grandpa Bean's fifteen children. I used to love to sit for hours and listen to her talk about the "old days". She was one of the most genteel ladies I had ever known.

" I got home in June. Papa was buying a Ford, he paid $500.00 for it. He took it out one P.M. and thought he knew how to drive. We were going to Aunt Florences for cherries. Lama wanted to go, but Papa made him take the load of lumber to Waiteville and we started for cherries. John and Emmette in the back seat Papa and I in front. We did fine until we got to the toll gate (a pole across the road that one had to pay 10¢ for someone to raise the gate to get under); proceeds used to keep road repaired). Papa forgot how to stop the car, it went under the toll gate taking it with us. That in some way pulled Papa over the back of the seat pulling his foot off the clutch. The car ran up on the bank and turned over, it thru me in a rut that the road scraper had made just enough to keep the seat back from crushing my chest. Papa got out some way, but John, Emmette and I were under it. We had passed a buggy just before the wreck. Roscue Rowan was driving the buggy, he lifted the car off of me. I wasn't hurt, scared to death and bruised. Papa's back was hurt and [he] had to go to the hospital later. He never drove a car again as long as he lived. The top was torn off the car, but no other damage.
Model T Ford
1910 Model

After the car top was repaired, Lama and I went to a tent meeting at Hollywood. We went up a long mountain when we got to the top, the exhaust backfired and we were sure someone was shooting at us."

I remember Aunt Rita telling me this same story. She said that Grandpa was so scared and frightened by the accident that he never drove again. He kept a car for many years, but never got behind the wheel again. By the time my Dad came along, Grandpa continued using a horse for transportation, and by the 1940's, relied heavily on his sons to drive him wherever he needed to go. Grandpa was born in 1866, the year following the Civil War's end. He married first to Aunt Rita's mother in 1895, and they had 3 children before she died with tuberculosis. He next married in 1907, and this time had 9 children. His second wife died, following the birth of the ninth children, due to toxemia. He was now 63 years of age. In 1935 he married my Grandmother. He was now 69, and his new bride was 38. The two went on to have three sons together. The last being born in 1943 when Grandpa was 77 and my Grandma was 46.

Grandpa died in 1954, and my Grandma in 1975. They are both buried at New Zion Union Church Cemetery, in Waiteville, Monroe County, West Virginia.


Greta Koehl said...

Wow, what a full life your grandfather had! And I don't blame him for not wanting to drive after that accident.

Kathryn Smith Lockhard said...

Poor grandpa was really traumatized. Perhaps he was trying to cross one of the very first toll gates installed. He still managed to live a full life without driving.